U.K. Media: Mob 'Sleeping With the Fishes'

"Lucky" Luciano's organization of the
families is still intact, despite ongoing
law enforcement efforts
"They felt untouchable. The Dons, the consiglieres and their made men secure in their gaudy out-of-town mansions.

"As they slept 800 heavily armed FBI agents and police officers gathered for the biggest swoop on organised crime in history.

"And as dawn broke on Thursday 127 mobsters were dragged from their silk sheets and arrested."

So begins an article in the U.K.'s Mirror, which proclaims that with the big mob bust in January, organized crime is on its last legs.

"Now Mafia watchers are wondering if this is the end of La Cosa Nostra – an Italian phrase meaning “this thing of ours” – after almost a century of power." The article then offers a history of the mob, going back to the arrival of the first Men of Honor from Sicily in the U.S. in the 1920s. It tries to shock more than anything else, calling attention to, "Dominick “Sonny Black” Napolitano, a captain in the Bonanno family, had his hands chopped off because he told gangsters to shake hands with an undercover cop. Bruno Facciolo was found dead with a canary stuffed in his mouth. Gambino had a rival “buried in a cement overcoat”."

It goes on to dispel the "myth" of Omerta and blames it for the mob's looming end, of which the recent bust was a major part of--supposedly. God, the British media doesn't understand the mob. Maybe I should send some resumes overseas. Their coverage is embarrassing -- probably because they are trying to cover a uniquely American institution.

Point of fact, a lot of sources -- on both sides of the law -- think the bust was more a media event than anything else--a set piece designed to show the American public--and the mob--that law enforcement has not forgotten LCN because of the war on terror or anything Jack Bauer is up to.

As a local New York City paper, the Queens Chronicle, noted in an article: “They [the mob] will adjust,” said Howard Abadinsky, professor of criminal justice at St. John’s University in Jamaica. “Whether [the arrests] will have a lasting effect on the structure of the groups — that, I doubt.”

Abadinsky also called the simultaneous arrests of so many reputed members of the mob “extraordinary,” because they’re not all tied to the same crime, and said he sensed “a little bit of a suspicion that maybe there is a bit of a public relations element to this.”

An FBI spokesman told the Chronicle, “The investigations just culminated around the same time.” More than 30 of the defendants are made members of the Mafia, including high-ranking city shot-callers such as Benjamin Castellazzo, 73, acting underboss of the Colombo family, Andrew Russo, 76, Colombo street boss, Richard Fusco, 74, consigliere of the Colombos, Joseph Corozzo, 69, consigliere of the Gambino family and Bartolomeo Vernace, 61, a member of the Gambino family administration.